By Shelby Rowe Moyer
It’s been quite a week.
Protests and riots erupted in cities across America in late May and June, including Madison, after the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota who died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
His death spurred outrage and discussions, once again, about racial inequities in America and the 400-year social, economic and political disparities between black and white people in this country.
So, where do we go from here?
For those who feel urged to get involved and/or educate themselves about racism, we created a short list of resources, some of which we pulled from our own Madison Public Library, which — in 2014 — created a virtual vault of books, articles, videos, podcasts, music and websites as a racial equity resource.
This list of local causes, books and podcasts explores everything from the history of white privilege to raising a socially aware child.
Get Involved and Support Local Causes
An organization centered around “engaging white people to work for racial justice” and equity in Dane County, while collaborating with other organizations and educating members about racial inequities.
With three goals in mind, Justified Anger works to empower the black community to discover its own solutions; establish a plan to address sociological and economic racial disparities; and partner with other leaders, agencies, and employers to achieve progress.
A Dane County initiative launched in 2012 to identify racial disparities with data and analysis that would be the basis for prioritizing solutions. The overall goal of the initiative is to better equalize the opportunities between black and white people.
The longtime mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to eliminate racial discrimination and “ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality rights of all persons.”
Founded in an effort to support black families, Urban Triage (founded by Brandi Grayson in 2017) works to support and empower families and aims to “eliminate barriers such as inadequate education, lack of access or resources, and class and health disparities.”
The nonprofit founded by Shonita Roach hosts a conference specifically addressing non-white mothers who, statistically, are disproportionately affected by perinatal depression or anxiety.
Now a major motion picture, “Just Mercy” tells the true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson when he founded a practice dedicated to “defending the most desperate in need.” One of his first cases was a man sentenced to death for a murder he insists he didn’t commit. This award-winning book offers a renewed vision for justice.
“The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley”
The story of Malcolm X’s life takes on the myth and limitations of the American Dream and how racism strips away the ability for people of color to achieve their dreams.
“The Other Wes Moore”
Two children bearing the same name in the same city grow up with very different life outcomes: One becomes a scholar and business leader and the other is serving a life sentence in prison. Author Wes Moore states, “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”
Author Ibram X. Kendi discusses the construct of race and explains why people have racial biases. A message of hope, by understanding why we feel how we feel, we may be able to “stamp out” the racists thoughts we have.
“The History of White People”
Historian Nell Irvin Painter examines white privilege by rewinding history more than two thousand years to explain why racism was constructed to justify the domination of other people and “the frequent worship of ‘whiteness’ for economic, social, scientific and political ends.”
“Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century”
A hefty, but absorbing read, Dorothy Roberts examines how healthcare systems once falsely promoted that people of different races were biologically different and the imprint that created on healthcare.
“Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland”
Dr. Jonathan M. Metzi travels across the Midwest and South interviewing Americans to deconstruct how “racial resentment has fueled progun laws in Missouri, resistance to the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and cuts to schools and social services in Kansas.” These racial hierarchies and policies, he argues, are actually leading to the demise of the nation.
“So You Want to Talk About Race”
Author Ijeoma Oluo offers this book as a jumping off point for how white and non-black people can start having conversations about race.
Conversations with Your Kids
“Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down”
Beautifully illustrated, “Sit-In” tells the story of four college students who peacefully sat at Woolworth’s lunch counter during segregation. Their story, now 60 years ago, became a defining moment in the civil rights movement.
“Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table”
Former basketball star turned urban farmer and activist began with a vision of transforming desolate urban sites into gardens, which sparked a grassroots movement in Milwaukee and Chicago.
“I Am Rosa Parks”
Penned by Rosa Parks herself, Parks explains how and why her simple act of civil disobedience led to the desegregation of buses.
“A is for Activist”
Written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara, this ABC book teaches “unapologetic” activism, from civil rights to environmental justice.
“The Day You Begin”
A New York Times bestseller, “The Day You Begin” tells the story of starting a new school year and connecting with classmates that are different from you, whether it’s how you look, or talk, what you eat, or where you’re from.
From the “New York Times,” host Nikole Hannah-Jones reviews how America was molded by the 250 years of slavery that began in 1619, when a ship brought more than 20 enslaved Africans to the English colonies. In just five episodes, she explains how the worth of black bodies became the most profitable commodity in the U.S., how “American music” was forged from black music, and how discrimination is snuffing out the existence of black farmers.
“The History of American Slavery”
Hosts Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion unravel the history of slavery in the U.S. and how it evolved from a period of indentured servitude — telling the story of Anthony Johnson, a black man taken from Africa and sold as a servant who fought for his freedom man and later owned land — to the cruel and shocking domination of enslaved black people. As episodes unfold, listeners further understand how black people were perceived and tormented for the economic gain of whites.
Taking on topics like COVID-19, being a black police officer in Atlanta, and even the N-word, “While Black” is a self-described as “a seriously opinionated podcast bringing you the real and the sometimes raw on anything happening while black.”
From NPR is “Code Switch,” which explores how race, ethnicity and culture effect our communities.
Though new episodes aren’t being created anymore, there’s a vast archive of conversations between authors and hosts Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda and Tanner Colby about culture, identity, politics, power and privilege “in our pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America.”